Earlier this week I had the pleasure of meeting Scott White, a Professor of Geological Sciences at the University of South Carolina. Scott was interested in trying kite or balloon photography to do some ecological and geomorphic research on the east coast and I agreed to provide an introduction to KAP technique while he was visiting Stanford.
We met down at the Don Edwards San Francisco Bay Wildlife Refuge. My permits for photography in the South Bay place most of the area off-limits during the February to August nesting season. Happily, the N Ponds between the Don Edwards Headquarters complex and Dumbarton Point are allowed by my permit during the summer so we discussed holding the demonstration at Salt Pond N1. A quick call to my Don Edwards contact and we had a green light. The pond was the first one I photographed back in 2003 and I was well overdue to shoot there again.
The session included two KAP flights. The first was around 4 pm with Scott in attendance and the second was near sunset. As I showed my gear to Scott I was slightly embarrassed to find my dSLR KAP cradle needing attention – the tilt mechanism was binding and servo rotation seemed oddly weak. I was able to fix the first issue by adjusting the tightness of my pivot mechanism. The servo weakness turned out to be an undercharged battery. It turns out the battery is fine but the old “wall wart” charger I used at home is kaput. A quick field charge between the two KAP sessions restored servo function to a vigorous state.
This image set includes images from both sessions. I have included a variety of shots showing KAP’s capacity to reveal the old marsh channels and bottom textures of the salt pond – features that one could not see during our visit. I have also included oblique views of the Don Edwards HQ and a few stitched panoramas. Finally, there is a comparison image showing a small hummock as photographed in 2003 and the corresponding view today